Install Windows 7 using an upgrade edition

I recently had to install Windows 7 using an upgrade edition. At one point I had a legal copy of Windows Vista on the computer, but I had long since switched to Linux and lost the original Windows Vista disk.

So what do I do? I qualify for the upgrade edition, but Windows won’t activate because I did a clean install without having Windows Vista installed.

Here is the solution:

  1. Run regedit.exe
  2. Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Setup/OOBE/
  3. Set MediaBootInstall to 0
  4. Close the registry editor
  5. Open a command prompt
  6. Run slmgr /rearm
  7. Wait until you get a message box that says “Command completed successfully.”
  8. Reboot

That’s it! Takes about 30 seconds and it makes it so Windows thinks you did an upgrade inside of Windows instead of a clean install. The activation process should work without any problems now.

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